With churrasco steaks, grilled red-snapper fillets, and shredded flank steaks rubbed with Cuban spices, it's hard to tell which dish earned Papi's Cuban & Caribbean Grill the tile of Best Cuban fare in 2010 and 2011 from the readers of Creative Loafing Atlanta. It could have been owner Rey Regalado’s recipe for pork marinade passed on from his father. Brought to America in a harrowing tale of escape from oppression, the signature sauce now trickles beneath layers of smoked pork, ham, swiss cheese, and dill pickles on the cuban sandwich or traditional masitas de puerco made with tender cubed pork. Selecting from a stash of family recipes, chefs fill plates with bold flavors and cap meals with such sweet treats as coconut flan and rice pudding. As the sun falls out of the sky on Fridays and Saturdays, live salsa music populates the dining room with toe-tapping beats and digestion-aiding rhythms.
Mojito Cafe's kitchen erupts in energy as chefs sizzle steaks, grill fish, and blanket chicken in cheese to fill a vivacious menu of Cuban cuisine. The Mojito Sensation platter's skirt steak, baby churrasco, chicken filet, and shrimp ($18.99) lets dates stage fork-tine battles over a shared plate, and a Cuban sandwich's grilled cuban bread firmly grasps a pile of ham, swiss cheese, and sliced roast pork for easy plate-to-mouth travel ($7.99). On the seafood menu, grilled fish filet and a small school of shrimp perfect their backstroke in a garlic, wine, and parsley cream pool ($17.99). Diners can challenge the chicken milanesa plate to a game of hide-and-seek, as breaded chicken filet stealthily hides under a spanish marinade and blanket of gooey mozzarella cheese ($11.99).
Coco Cabana brings a taste of Cuba to Tucker with a varied selection of sandwiches and other finger-friendly eats. The restaurant boasts an especially lengthy list of tapas, including fried calamari, stuffed zucchini, and a creation called El Cubanito: roast pork, Serrano ham, pickles, and cheese, all brought together with spicy mustard and Cuban bread. Visitors can also wrap their hands or surgically attached panini presses around sandwiches, such as fried tilapia with sautéed onions and breaded chicken breast with tomato sauce.